Poor performance, absenteeism, and even the buzzword of the moment; toxic culture—these are all problems arising from wayward employees, right?
You, as management, are more likely the reason for such conduct.
But how did you get here—especially after you’ve tried your best to give your staff competitive pay and benefits?
The truth is, investing in employee growth is a strategic process that goes beyond things such as employee gifts and perks. Essentially, fostering a positive relationship with your employees is about making them feel valued.
Having your HR department pay extra attention to employee relations goes a long way to improving employee retention and increased productivity.
But how do you do this?
We’ve created this in-depth guide that takes a look at all facets involved in investing in your company’s overall employee experience.
Let’s get started.
What Is Employee Relations?
Employee Relations Defined
The term “employee relations” refers to the relationship between the business owner, managers, and team members. The emphasis isn’t only on individual connections or specific teams, but also on the entire workforce.
The term also defines the employee relations efforts implemented by the company’s HR department and the content you create. These steps include contracts, practical assistance, and general support.
Why Are Employee Relations Important in 2021?
Disputes and poor workplace communications have a significant impact on performance management.
If your co-workers feel that their efforts are appreciated, they’re more likely to go the extra mile to meet your own or the line managers’ expectations.
Since very little could be accomplished without your team, wouldn’t it be in your company’s best interests to ensure employee satisfaction?
The Impact of Positive Employee Relations
By encouraging a healthy work-life balance and strong relationships between co-workers, you’ll see a drastic change in your workplace culture.
Without effective employee management strategies in place, some troubles you could face include:
- Underperformance of employees
- Sexual harassment
- Abuse of company resources
- Contract breaches such as breaking confidentiality
- Lack of reliability and trust between co-workers and management
Remember, the above represents only a small part of the possible employee challenges that you could experience. As a business owner, you should maintain regular communications with your line managers and HR managers to spot potential issues early and address them immediately.
Human Resources & Employee Relations
HR professionals are essential to ensuring that the team’s overall performance runs smoothly. Not only is it the HR role to ensure contractual obligations are met, but it also provides support and instills trust in the company.
Having an employee relations plan in place with your HR team is effective in boosting morale and avoiding interpersonal disputes. These are common problems that could negatively impact the company’s bottom line and requires a sensitive approach.
Effective Employment Relations Management
Humans are social creatures and thrive on rewarding relationships. As an employee relations manager, you should incorporate psychological factors into your HR approach.
Some key points to consider include:
- A sense of accomplishment. Employees who feel that they’re part of the team invest more effort in their work. By creating a sense of unity, the team member shares in the excitement when the company performs well.
- Recognition and reward: Above all, acknowledging exceptional performance or an improved attitude is the most effective performance management tool you can incorporate. Having engaged employees is crucial to the overall growth of the company.
- Keep communication channels open. As much as many of us prefer to pretend otherwise, life happens, and it often leaves us distracted. When employees know that they can approach the HR team about troubles, it encourages trust and loyalty.
- Encourage personal and professional growth: Companies that encourage employees to improve their skills have better employee retention than those who don’t. It’s a win-win arrangement for both parties.
Common Examples of Employee Relations Issues
An unpleasant part of employee relations management is to resolve possible conflicts in the workplace. The extent of these problems varies from minor personal disagreements to more significant negotiations.
Payment disputes between the employee and the business owner are among the main contributing factors for employees seeking new employment. The employee may just be venting or have a genuine problem regarding their pay. In either case, identify the root of the problem to find a speedy resolution.
Poor attendance and leave disputes are other areas that require intervention from employee relations managers. Many employees tend to abuse the understanding and generosity of their employers during tough times.
As part of your employee relationship management policy, establish clear boundaries regarding attendance and the paid leave days available to the employee.
Conflict resolution is an expected requirement in any area that calls for different (potentially clashing) personalities working together. This is where HR should be the voice of reason to find common ground and resolve any disagreements.
There are bound to be some unpleasant interactions between employees with different views, beliefs, and tolerance levels.
Did you know? Workplace safety doesn’t only refer to hazardous environments like factories. In an office, it could also refer to preventing sexual harassment and abusive interactions.
Employee relations managers should always encourage communication on these offenses and have the appropriate measures in place if they occur.
10 Tips for Developing Employee Relationships as a Business Owner
Encourage Employee Feedback
The first step in remedying a problem is to identify it. By encouraging regular employee feedback, you’ll shed some light on any troubles that your team may be experiencing.
Employee relations managers should have a fixed employee feedback session on the books to provide a safe space for each team member, allowing them to air their grievances and share opinions.
It’s an ideal opportunity to build better relationships amongst all parties.
Recognize and Acknowledge Potential
There’s nothing people enjoy more than to hear their praises sung. It’s the fastest and easiest way to encourage improved results.
When employees perform consistently well or have a better-than-usual attitude, don’t hesitate to give them a parade. The psychology behind it says that they’ll continue to strive for better to keep the praise coming.
Since conflict resolution has a significant impact on employee relationships, why not encourage celebrating the differences? Whether working together in a workplace or remotely, it’s something that the team can participate in together.
Embracing what sets each person apart and celebrating it creates a sense of unity in the team. Not only does this improve the workplace culture, but it will also reduce negative employee engagement.
Create a Corporate Training and Development Program
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in or which position the employees occupy; you can never have enough knowledge.
When a company has a training and development program, it reflects an interest in the employees’ professional growth.
Corporate training with Quantic’s MBA course provides employees with the skills they need for career advancement. With the added knowledge, they’ll have a morale boost and feel motivated to prove that they’re worth the investment.
“My journey with Quantic has been incredible. The course material equipped me with knowledge that led to a 66% salary increase.” – Robin Lu, Gomay Group, Front-end Engineer.
“I used the knowledge I gained in Quantic’s MBA to acquire a significant promotion in both role and compensation. I loved the program.” – Kristian Fennessy, Solutions Engineering, Chartio.
Whether a business owner or employee, Quantic’s MBA is a worthwhile investment and a win either way.
Setup Tuition Reimbursement
A tuition reimbursement program encourages employees to go the extra mile to reach their goals while improving employee retention.
The Quantic tuition reimbursement program makes it possible for employees to earn their MBA and reach their full potential without spending any money. Companies can reimburse the tuition partially or in full.
Build an Executive Leadership Development Plan
While employee performance is the engine room of any business, it could all crash and burn without effective leadership. It’s crucial to ensure that those in leadership roles have the company’s best interests at heart.
An effective employee engagement strategy is to create an Executive Leadership Development plan. This approach allows employees to work toward their goals while gaining the training and knowledge required to help the company thrive.
Refer to the 12 Employee Engagement Strategies for 2021 for some of the most effective ways to develop your Executive Leadership Development plan.
Enable Employee Engagement
Quantic defines employee engagement as “the level of an employee’s emotional involvement and commitment to organizational goals.”
In essence, employees should view the company as more than just an income source. Do team members feel like a cog in the wheel or a vital part of the operation?
Since every organization and team is different, it’s best to evaluate the 12 Employee Engagement Strategies for 2021 to find the approach that delivers the best results.
Build Employee Empowerment
Employee empowerment refers to the support provided by the business owner and managers to help employees succeed. Not only does the support improve employee relations, but it also boosts company culture.
With Quantic, empowerment and training don’t only refer to an MBA. Not everyone is well-suited for an executive role, but anyone can thrive in other areas providing value in your company’s advancement.
Encourage signing up for an open course in various business tasks. The courses are short, free, flexible, and don’t require an application process.
Set Clear Expectations
Whether discussing the company’s values or employee conduct parameters, be clear about your expectations. This is especially crucial when talking to new employees in the team as it helps them find their feet in the organization better.
Some common areas that are often miscommunicated include:
- Job description and responsibilities
- Main working hours or time requirements
- Various processes for specific tasks
- Team communication preferences
- Objectives for the individual and/or group
Encourage Family First
As rewarding as having dedicated workers can be, it could present a slippery slope when the focus is on the wrong side. Unnecessary pressure at work and unreasonably long hours can be emotionally and mentally draining, negatively impacting performance.
Excessive time spent working also results in a shortfall in other areas of employees’ lives — often with their family. Again, this could circle back to their work, causing a snowball effect.
By encouraging a healthy work-life balance, employees can focus on their families and gain the mental clarity to continue performing well.
Always remember that mental health is a severe condition often sparked by excess stress. Take the extra steps to prevent this wherever possible.
When it comes to employee relations, what you get out of your employee really is determined by what you put in.
Examples of Companies That Develop and Maintain Strong Employee Relations
Are you keen to see how established companies have found success with their employee relations policy? Here are a few names that you may recognize and how they’ve maintained strong relationships.
Google has set the bar high for how to take care of its staff. The tech mogul offers employees an extensive list of perks, including free training. The company understands the value of investing in the workforce, and the payoff is absolute employee satisfaction.
Apple has a firm belief in the importance of communication between parties for maintaining good relationships. The company’s employee engagement program encourages continuous contact with all employees.
American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, recognizes the value of embracing and celebrating diversity within the company. He understands that drawing from different perspectives is pivotal to company advancement and a thriving workplace.
Employee Relations Programs That Work
The list of ways to improve employee relations is endless and truly worth implementing. However, the method that stands out the most is empowering employees through education and growth opportunities.